Workshop of Parliamentary Scholars and Parliamentarians

Every other year, wearing my hat as Director of the Centre for Legislative Studies at the University of Hull, I organise a Workshop of Parliamentary Scholars and Parliamentarians, designed – as the name suggests – to bring academics and practitioners together.  Scholars working in the field of legislative studies present their research and discuss it with the participants.  It is a valuable exercise, enabling members of parliaments to learn more about legislative development and behaviour – much of which may be useful in their own legislatures – and researchers to obtain informed feedback.  

The Ninth Workshop was held at the weekend.  The first Workshop was held in 1994 at the Berlin Science Centre and all succceeding Workshops at Wroxton College, near Banbury in Oxfordshire.  It is an ideal venue – attractive and having the capacity for enough participants for it to be a workshop.  It provides an environment conducive to discussion.  

Almost thirty papers were delivered in twelve panels, plus a concluding panel of practitioners.  The opening three panels give some idea of the type of papers presented and the range of institutions from which paper givers were drawn:

PARLIAMENTS IN PERSPECTIVE

The distribution of oversight tools in the lower chambers: a comparative analysis.   Riccardo Pelizzo (Griffith University) and Rick Stapenhurst (The World Bank)

Measuring parliamentary performance.  Ross Donohue, Ken Coghill, Colleen Lewis, Christina Neesham, and Peter Holland (Monash University)

Managing Parliaments’ image.  Cristina Leston-Bandeira (University of Hull)

LEGISLATIVE RECRUITMENT

‘Does personality matter?’  Personality factors as determinants of legislative recruitment and legislators’ policy preferences.  Heinrich Best (University of Jena)

Electoral rules and social roots in legislative recruitment:  the case of Italy’s Republican Parliament. Licia Claudia Papavero (Università degli studi di Milano) and Vincenzo Memoli (Universitá degli Studi di Isernia)

THE PARLIAMENTARY ROAD TO STABILITY

Constitutions, Parliaments and political parties: reforms in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.  James P. Ketterer (State University of New York) and John B. Sheffer III (University of Buffalo)

The Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique: from enemies to adversaries?  Elisabete Azevedo (Inter-Parliamentary Union)

I plan in subsequent posts to provide abstracts of some of the papers and some of the findings deriving from some of the papers.  Were you aware, for example, that Romania has changed its electoral system and in seeking to maintain single-member districts and have proportional representation has come up with a system that falls within none of the existing categories of electoral systems? 

The panels were extremely stimulating; I learned a great deal as I know did other participants.  The Tenth Workshop will be at Wroxton in 2o12.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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5 Responses to Workshop of Parliamentary Scholars and Parliamentarians

  1. Carl.H says:

    “LEGISLATIVE RECRUITMENT”

    I look forward to that if any are posted.

    • Croft says:

      “LEGISLATIVE RECRUITMENT”

      Did anyone else have the lovely image of countries trying to recruit a legislature:

      “well we’ve had a lovely application from a charming bicameral body but we think they seem a bit old, the unicarmel fptp applicant seems a bit overworked at the moment, the closed list stv+ body doesn’t seem to gel with our nations ‘mission statement’ so we’ll just have the keep looking.

      • Lord Norton says:

        Croft: There’s an element of truth in this in respect of new democracies. Legislatures quite often borrow from elsewhere, and there are various international organisations that exist to promote legislative development, though in practice the biggest influence in shaping a national legislature is the history of the nation.

      • Croft says:

        Really? I always had the sense that, at least for new democracies, they are frequently coerced (by aid or lack thereof) into choosing the legislative model de jour among the international bodies.

      • Lord Norton says:

        Croft: Some have been constrained by external sponsors, with systems being imposed, but otherwise where they are able to determine their own legislative system the national history has been the most significant (though not necessarily the sole) influence.

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